Large vs Small Business Payroll—How to Choose the Right Software

Andrew Moran - Writer for TBR
By Andrew Moran
Michelle Meyer - Editor for TBR
Edited by Michelle Meyer

Published October 4, 2022.

Woman sitting at a desk in front of a laptop while doing calculations on a calculator

Payroll is a crucial component of any business—large or small. From complying with federal and state tax laws to ensuring employees are paid the right amount on time, managing payroll is not easy. This is why companies in every industry invest in payroll software for their day-to-day operations, realizing that even automated payroll processing can result in a more organized office space, better regulatory compliance, and more efficiency. But how do you select the best payroll software?

» Do small businesses need payroll software? Discover the advantages payroll software offers

How to Choose Payroll Software

Of course, every business has its own suite of needs. There isn't a one-size-fits-all payroll software out there that can satisfy all companies on the planet. Indeed, the best payroll software will be one that addresses the specifics of each crevice of the organization, whether it's a reliable pay schedule or tax filing.

So, what should you be looking for when you choose to adopt payroll software into your day-to-day business operations? Here are three things to consider:

Required Range of Functionality

Any business—large or small—should consider the range that payroll software possesses. For a lot of companies, it could come down to installing an automated payroll software system or utilizing a bare-bones program that offers basic functions to be performed manually. Of course, both have a series of advantages and disadvantages, so it would be necessary to weigh what is critical and what sits within your budget.

Integration with Other Software

Many offices already work with all types of different software, so would another one cause a headache? Not if you can integrate the payroll software with your other programs. Put simply, if you want to complement your current crop of software, it would be best to choose payroll software that you can integrate successfully into your workplace.


Another factor that you need to mull over when choosing payroll software is your staff. As you think about your employees in your decision-making, you need to consider the number of employees at the office and their employment status, and if they will benefit from having new software related to their paychecks.

» Who is responsible for payroll? Discover whether responsibility lies with HR or finance

How to Evaluate Payroll Software

Here are five criteria to evaluate payroll software by:


In today's economy, every business needs to tighten its belt. Investing in payroll software might be a costly decision, but it's a critical one. While many companies might only calculate the monthly fee of purchasing payroll software, it's also a good idea to factor in the costs per employee.

In addition, depending on what payroll software your firm chooses, the price will also depend on how comprehensive or basic the packages are.


When offices are in the market for payroll software, they make the mistake of thinking that some programs are only for managing, inserting, and analyzing payroll data. However, today's generation of payroll software includes a wide array of features and tools, whether it's Human Resources, labor regulations, or tax laws. In some cases, payroll software can serve as a one-stop shop for all payroll-related matters, from compliance to IRS filing.

» What essential features should payroll software have? Here are 7 features to help you run payroll without a hitch


Not everyone at your company will be experts in Python or C++ programming languages. As a result, it's helpful to determine how user-friendly the software may be for employees.


Can your payroll software grow with your company or will it be stagnant? Depending on what payroll software your company invests in, you might later discover that the program is limited in its functionality. While the software might have been useful when you were just starting out, eventually, you might outgrow your payroll software. The more your company increases in size and scope, the more adaptable and scalable your software must be.


Unfortunately, data breaches and security infiltrations are more common than ever before. The last thing you want is to be the target of hackers. Payroll software contains extremely sensitive corporate and personal information. So, yes, you want to pour business funds into top-notch software that consists of exceptional security. However, it's also imperative to institute necessary security measures to protect this information, from two-tier authentication access to thorough passwords.

Customer Service

Lastly, are the payroll software and its maker known for impeccable customer service? Or is technical support something left to be desired? Since payroll is not something to take lightly, you want as much available support as possible, whether it is by telephone or online.


In the end, choosing the right payroll software for your large or small business depends on what the organization needs and if the software can result in saving both time and effort. By exploring the best tips for payroll processing, taking into account the workforce, and finding something that suits your budget, choosing the right software might be a decision-making endeavor that could pay dividends in the future.

» Would you like to compare payroll software? View TBR's payroll software reviews

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